One Last Anniversary

Seventeen years ago, on September 26, 1998, standing on a St. Augustine lawn at The King and Prince Resort, two people agreed to love, honor, and cherish each other til death do them part. It was out of a fairy tale, if you had a fairy tale with leftover tropical storm winds, fresh and soggy sod down the aisle, and humidity that made the cake (that was inside) start melting and toppling over.

Lighthouse Wedding

The night was beautiful. Planned around football schedules, everyone who was able to attend did. We even had a few wedding crashers! My dad’s band played as long as the hotel would let them and the next morning, from the “round room” we watched the sun rise over the ocean as Mr. and Mrs. Anthoine. It was perfection.

Over the years, life happened. Loss happened. Life kept happening, good and bad.

Laughter filled rooms that were later filled with tears.

Events were celebrated in high style and others were marked simply with grace and honor.

Life changed us. For better and for worse.

We lost our way, and in it, our passion for one another.

Today marks our last anniversary.

September 26, 2015.

We’re technically still married, though divorce papers are filed and waiting for a FINAL stamp that will replace “til death do us part” with “til the judge says we’re no longer married.”

We stood before God and everybody seventeen years ago and took vows we thought we would never break. In fact, we sat in the “oh shit” room in a hospital and swore we would never “be a statistic.” But here we are. Now we have new vows to carry us through the future.

We vow to love each other in the way only parents who share the loss of a child can.

We vow to respect each other in the way only parents who have the same hopes and dreams for their son can.

We vow to co-parent with grace and dignity and promise to never speak ill of the other in front of Henry.

We vow to help each other in a time of need.

We vow to find happiness that was lost between us. It’s out there for both of us to find.

We vow to remember the 6210 days between our wedding day and today as they were, not with regret.

We vow to love, honor, and cherish Henry and the memory of Charlie til death do us part.

Happy seventeenth anniversary, Jason! Here’s to whatever’s next for both of us!

Apart. Part 2.

A few months ago, I wrote about Jason and I deciding to separate. It wasn’t an easy decision or one that was come to quickly. Much thought was put into it and much care was taken to do it the best way possible for both of us and especially for Henry. It has worked very nicely.

The boys took a vacation. Henry and I spent lots of time together. We all three did a few things together. Pretty sure we even laughed, cried, and got a little pissed off at some point.

But after a summer living apart, we’ve decided we like “us” this way. Apart. So apart we will stay.

(yes, you can read into that that we’re getting a divorce)

I can say with 100% certainty, being apart has brought us closer. Not closer as husband and wife, but closer as friends. And more importantly, closer as parents of Henry.

So here’s where we choose to go — our separate ways, which aren’t really separate at all. We will always be connected and always hold a certain love for one another.

There are things that no other person in this world could ever share with us that we have shared together. Only the two of us will ever be able to share the moment when we were told our Charlie would die. Only the two of us will ever be able to share Henry’s first cries and first broken arm and first days of school. Only the two of us will be able to share all our professional ups and downs of the last 17 years, our health ups and downs, and even our emotional ups and downs.

September 26 will be 17 years since we said “I do” on the St. Augustine lawn at The King and Prince in St. Simons. I’m not sure if we will still be married then or if it will all be final, but for the rest of my years, I’ll remember the feel of that grass under my feet as a 22-year-old Jana married the man she loved.

He will always be special. Always be part of me. Always be loved.

But now we both get to go and find our new happy, new life, and hopefully even new love.

Wish us all luck!

Give a Shot. Make a Difference. #Blogust 2015

Give a Shot. Make a Difference. #Blogust 2015

Did you know that around the world, every 20 seconds, a child dies from an illness that is preventable by vaccine? Diseases that have long been managed or eradicated in the US are still taking lives around the world — measles, polio, diarrhea, pneumonia. One in five children lack access to immunizations that will save their lives.

Have you buried a child? I hope not.

I have. And it shakes me to my core to think that there are over a million children a year dying from something that is preventable. Think about that number. It’s earth-shattering.


A few months ago, I was asked to become a Champion for Shot@Life, an arm of the UN Foundation that…

“educates, connects and empowers Americans to champion vaccines as one of the most cost-effective ways to save the lives of children in developing countries. A national call to action for a global cause, the campaign rallies the American public, members of Congress, and civil society partners around the fact that together, we can save a child’s life every 20 seconds by expanding access to vaccines. By encouraging Americans to learn about, advocate for, and donate to vaccines, Shot@Life aims to decrease vaccine-preventable childhood deaths and give every child a shot at a healthy life.” (from Shot@Life)

I was honored by this because after Charlie died, I had a big realization.

I have something in me that this world needs. My voice. My passion. My desire to never see another child in a casket. When I was asked to share one of my favorite quotes for Blogust 2015, I knew it was this one.blogust quote

We all have something in us the world needs. Maybe it’s your desire to make beautiful art or write amazing books. Maybe it’s that you sing or make a great latte or can hold someone’s hand and instantly make them feel better.

You can make a difference.

And so can these children whose lives we aim to save. They were born into this world for a reason. Let’s get them the life-saving vaccines they need, so they can fulfill their purpose.

It’s easy to make a difference during Blogust.

Simply comment on this post or like/share it on Facebook or retweet it on Twitter. Each action equals one vaccine donated to a child around the world.


During Shot@Life’s Blogust 2015—a month-long blog relay—some of North America’s most beloved online writers, photo and video bloggers and Shot@Life Champions will come together and share inspirational quotes for their children.

Every time you comment on this post and other Blogust contributions, or take action using the social media on this website, Shot@Life and the United Nations Foundation pages, one vaccine will be donated to a child around the world (up to 50,000).

A Few Of My Favorite Books of 2015 (So Far)

Seems that I’ve made this year a year of reading. Maybe it’s because I have some quiet nights when Henry is at Jason’s. Or maybe I just want to take my eyes off my computer and drift into another world with characters who give me ideas and inspiration and hope.

I thought I’d share a few with you. Go forth and read!

Books by our very talented Listen To Your Mother Cast Members:

Anchored: Finding Hope in the Unexpected by Kayla Aimee

The Beauty of Grace: Stories of God’s Love from Today’s Most Popular Writers by Dawn Jacobs Camp (and many other contributors)

Hands Free Life: Nine Habits for Overcoming Distraction, Living Better, and Loving More by Rachel Macy Stafford

Hands Free Mama: A Guide to Putting Down the Phone, Burning the To-Do List, and Letting Go of Perfection to Grasp What Really Matters! by Rachel Macy Stafford

All Beautiful Things by Nicki Salcedo

Listen to Your Mother: What She Said Then, What We’re Saying Now by Ann Imig and other LTYM Cast Members from across the country

Other books I love and highly recommend:

Damselfly Inn (Thornton Vermont Book 1) by Cameron Garriepy

Buck’s Landing (A New England Seacoast Romance Book 1) by Cameron Garriepy

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

After You: A Novel by Jojo Moyes (pre-order sequel to Me Before You)

Kindness Wins by Galit Breen

Primates of Park Avenue: A Memoir by Wednesday Martin

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail (Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 1) by Cheryl Strayed

Rare Bird: A Memoir of Loss and Love – by Anna Whitson-Donaldson

ALL the Housewife Assassin’s Books by Josie Brown

Disclaimer: Contains affiliate links. Buying through these links will feed my travel habit. And keep my local Starbucks open. 

Twelve. 12. XII.

Twelve. 12. XII.

It’s been a dozen years since you stubbornly and dramatically took your first breath.

Counting that many years without you is more than I can fathom, really.

If someone asked me right now, I would say that it felt like just yesterday they placed you in my arms, all pink and mad.

But if another person came up right behind them, I may say I could barely remember the smell of your skin or how your lip curled just a little at the corner.

While there’s not a day that goes by when I don’t think about you, there are long stretches of hours when the hole in my heart feels plugged up and dare I say, whole. And then, maybe it’s a glance at the clock at 9:19 or a giraffe figurine in a window, memories come back. I know sometimes it’s you nudging me to remember, to think, to take a minute and thank you for going through life with me.

I’m thankful you were born, Charlie.

Without you, I wouldn’t be who I am today. That sounds strange, doesn’t it? I mean, obviously I’d rather you be here, but there were clearly much bigger plans for you. You were never supposed to stay.

Do you know how many people your story, as tragic as it was, has helped? A lot.

And do you know how many people I talk to who are grieving the loss of their child who just want to know from someone who has been there, that one day it’ll be ok? A lot.

You sitting on my shoulder, walking life with me, helps me help them. They’re my friends now, just like their babies are playing with you up there. (Make sure you share your cake with them today.)

So instead of finishing the 5th grade this week and headed to middle school, you’re saving babies’ lives and helping me give grieving parents or scared soon-to-be parents hope.

no tears eat cake 400

So today we celebrate you.

We don’t cry because you’re gone,

we eat cake because you were born.

Happy birthday, Charlie!

I love you to Heaven and back.

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